E/D/E in Europe
Thirty countries, one association – this is EDE International. The spirit of collaboration between cooperation partners, members and suppliers along the entire value chain creates synergies and raises sources of potential.
EDE International: Intensification of our Europe-wide E/D/E network
The market environment presented the association and its members with new challenges in 2022. Thus, the development of the international business was also influenced by supply chain difficulties, the Ukraine war and the resulting energy crisis. A lack of skilled workers and rising inflation rates are preoccupying the industrial B2B sector. Despite these difficult – and in some cases, extremely challenging – market conditions in Europe, together with our cooperation partners, members and suppliers we were able to expand the trading volume by 4 percent to around EUR 2 billion in 2022. The positive business development was characterised, among other things, by the acquisition of more than 20 new members and cooperation partners, such as Bricks and Tools from Belgium, and the by the growth of the partner VGH International. In the area of European Supplier Management, we were able to expand the trade volume with our focus suppliers, conclude more than 90 new supplier contracts or expand existing ones to new cuntries. We were thus able to expand our activities to 30 countries (including Germany).
The qualitative expansion of our business with existing and new cooperation partners, members and suppliers is the focus of our work. We want to intensify cooperation along the entire value chain between (and with) them, in order to create synergies and leverage potential. We continue to support our European network with the entire service portfolio of the E/D/E Group as a reliable and innovative alliance. In particular, the strategic expansion at the cooperation level with further cooperation partners in Spain – within the framework of an existing joint venture – and Belgium was able to be expanded in 2022 on a qualitative level. The new transnational competence group European Hardware Network (EHN) started its work in January 2022. The clear aim of this platform for communication, solutions and services is to identify and exploit the synergies between the intra-European associations. In addition to joint marketing activities, the competence group also organises an effective and regular process of exchange with suppliers, thus offering them the opening of new markets and attractive opportunities to successfully expand their activities in Europe.
The requirements of the markets and retailers in the respective country are leading the way for us when we roll out product ranges and concepts on an international level that have been successful in Germany. Therefore, we maintain an intensive dialogue with our international member companies, cooperation partners and suppliers in order to shape product ranges and concepts in the target countries. In doing so, we benefit from our direct access to the most important B2B markets in Europe, as well as our broad experience with the product groups in our home market. In 2022, we were able to further intensify the indispensable personal sales support forour members, for example, at our industry meeting “Branchentreff total” in Leipzig. For the first time, the International division was represented by 30 members from 16 countries. Hybrid formats also remain important. To improve internal and external communication, we have embarked on new paths. We have established our own homepage for EDE International AG, and will continue to expand it. Faceto-face events such as the local marketplaces in the countries strengthen the personal exchange and are already firmly planned for 2023 in Spain, France, Poland and the Czech Republic/Slovakia. Our goal: a direct and close connection between the association, our international members and suppliers. Through the fast and effective exchange of information on relevant market information and trends, we create clear competitive advantages.
In addition to the classic marketing and sales activities, we have set the decisive course for digital transformation in 2022. As early as at the beginning of 2022, we started to build up our own resources to take over all international catalogue and data projects and expand them for all the countries we serve. For 2023, the logical step towards the digital transformation of all sales channels will be consistently developed and adapted further on a country-specific basis with the partners and members on site. We are strengthening our FORMAT members and cooperation partners with the new sales concept 3.0, in order to be able to operate successfully in the increasingly digital environment with a modern and future-proof marketing mix.
Macroeconomic and political conditions remain uncertain and highly variable. Nevertheless, the outlook for the European markets is cautiously optimistic. We will continue to expand our international marketing concepts and product ranges in 2023. In our portfolio business, we expect business development to trend sideways. This development needs to be secured.
In an international context, digitalisation, data management and sustainability are increasingly coming to the fore. As a European association, we want to take the lead in these areas and be a reliable advisor and partner for our members in order to secure and expand the competitiveness and future viability of our members and cooperation partners.